Second Wife (1930)

Passed   |    |  Drama


Second Wife (1930) Poster

A man's pregnant second wife gets upset when he decides to go overseas to his young son, who may be dying of typhoid fever.


5.5/10
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18 December 1998 | Art-22
4
| With its very dated plot, this film seems more of a curio, but some of the acting can still be enjoyed.
As with many domestic dramas of the time, the mores and actions of the characters are very dated today. I found it incredulous that Lila Lee considered divorcing Conrad Nagel on a very minor point. He gets a cablegram that his son at a school in Switzerland is deathly ill, but if he goes there he might save him. He decides to go, which starts the trouble. She's hurt, not because she is expecting a child any day now, but because they didn't come to that decision together. She explains that if he had talked it over with her, she would have urged him to go. It's hard to conceive that with his son's life possibly in the balance, she would even think twice about his decision to go, especially since he explained that women have babies now with little risk, and she agreed with him. (Times being what they were, he had to go by ship and would be away a month or so.) So the movie had two strikes against it for me on this point alone.

The acting wasn't too bad. Romantic star Conrad Nagel gave his usual reserved performance. Lovely Lila Lee was believable as the second wife afraid that Nagel's memory of his first wife might hurt their marriage. Hugh Huntley had the best lines and gave the best performance as the heavy, more or less, trying to split the couple up. And I enjoyed Mary Carr as the long-time housekeeper who is not afraid to speak her mind. But the film is a two-set movie and very stage-bound - there's not one exterior shot. Note also that for a woman about to give birth, Lila Lee was as thin as a rail.

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